It’s safe to say we’re in a fast moving situation – even here in Bigtownshire, which is saying something. After the PM’s announcement of the latest coronavirus measures yesterday afternoon, I spent this morning alternating between sending out emails cancelling things and receiving emails from other people cancelling things. As of now, pretty much everything I had pencilled in for April, May and most of June except actual work has either been cancelled, moved online, or postponed until September (and boy will that be a busy month).
These are worrying times but although I’m generally a fairly anxious person, I’m not finding it’s quite cut through to me yet. In fact there’s been something quite liberating about watching all the things I usually fret about fall by the wayside, one by one. Other worries will take their place (and more serious ones, as the epidemic starts to properly take hold) but for now it all feels a bit remote from our daily lives.
Partly this may be because – so far at least – Bigtown and the surrounding area remains resolutely unpanicked. I enjoyed empty roads as I cycled into town this lunchtime to meet the other half for one last hurrah at our favourite (indeed, only) local Syrian restaurant but then again, our roads are always empty so that was nothing new. Once in Bigtown the traffic was pretty much as normal, the car parks as full as ever, and the restaurant – which we thought might need our support and possibly not even have opened – actually busier than it usually is on a Tuesday lunchtime. I suspect things will change – the other half was only in work because he was picking up the files and things he needed to work from home, and I imagine others will be in a similar situation. But as I cycled home again in the rain, laden with emergency supplies of baklava, it felt like, up here at least, we were still in the first stages of the phoney war, before the real dangers commence.
I hope that’s the case, because we’re taking the calculated risk of making a quick visit to my parents for a couple of days before any possible lockdown takes hold. On balance it feels like the right thing to do, given how long it could be before we have another chance, but I hope it’s not a decision that will come back to haunt us.
Then by the weekend we’ll be back home and ready to settle into a peaceful few weeks of gardening, pottering and other socially distanced activities until all this is over and we can get on with our lives. If, as Huttonian always used to say, we are spared. A phrase that feels just a mite too close to the bone right now….